North Charleston, SC – With the National Hockey League and American Hockey League’s respective preseason schedules kicking off this week, a number of 2007-08 and 2008-09-contracted Stingrays can be found around North American training camps.
Participating in the main camp for the Washington Capitals are Andrew Gordon, Tom Maxwell, Grant McNeill, and Sasha Pokulok, who each spent time in South Carolina during the 2007-08 campaign. Sean Collins, Patrick McNeill and Steve Pinizzotto, also members of last season’s Stingrays club, participated in Washington’s rookie camp, which ran from Sept. 14-18, and are slated to take part in the Hershey Bears’ training camp which opens this week. Travis Morin, who led the Stingrays and finished third in ECHL scoring with 84 points last season, had two goals and an assist in the Capitals' 7-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers in last week's rookie game. McNeill and Pinizzotto, meanwhile, are expected to play in Washington’s preseason home opener tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Johann Kroll, signed for the upcoming 2008-09 campaign, recently participated in the Columbus Blue Jackets’ rookie prospect tournament and will take part in training camp with the Grand Rapids Griffins. The 24-year-old defenseman turned pro this past spring with the Rochester Americans, following a four-year career at Ohio State University. In 153 games with the Buckeyes, the Plymouth, Minnesota, native compiled 27 points (5g, 22a) and 177 penalty minutes.
Another pair of players signed with South Carolina for 2008-09, goaltender Bobby Goepfert and forward Keith Johnson, will attend Hershey’s training camp this fall. Goepfert, 25, posted a 16-15-1 mark with a 2.60 goals against average and three shutouts for the Augusta Lynx in 2007-08, his first professional campaign. The Kings Park, New York, native was the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 6th round selection in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft (171st overall) and spent two years each, respectively, with Providence College and St. Cloud State.
The 23-year-old Johnson spent most of the 2007-08 season with the Utah Grizzlies, collecting a team-leading 27 goals while totaling 53 points in 67 games. The Windsor, Connecticut, native also played five contests for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, going pointless with two penalty minutes. Prior to turning pro, the 2008 ECHL All-Star spent four years at the University of Maine, registering 54 points (30g, 24a) in 139 games.
Second-year pro Trent Campbell, 25, will be attending training camp with the Manitoba Moose, after leading all Stingrays players last season with a +26 plus/minus rating. The Beauval, Saskatchewan, native began the 2007-08 campaign in France before signing with South Carolina in November. In 57 games with the Rays, the 5-foot-10, 175-pound forward collected 49 points (22g, 27a) to place fifth on the team. During the playoffs the Lake Superior State alum added 14 points and participated in all 20 contests.
Rounding out the list is defenseman Zach Tarkir, who will battle for a roster spot with the Houston Aeros. Tarkir, 24, signed with the Rays last month after spending the majority of the 2007-08 campaign with the Trenton Devils. The Fresno, California, native is entering his second full season following a four-year stint at Northern Michigan University. Originally the New Jersey Devils’ 5th round selection in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft (167th overall), Tarkir has also seen action in 13 career AHL contests, all with Lowell.
Mark your Calendars – the Stingrays open up the 2008-09 season at home against the Augusta Lynx on Saturday, October 18. The game will be at the North Charleston Coliseum starting at 7:05 p.m.
Don’t miss any of the fast-paced, hard-hitting action of the 2008-09 season; purchase your ticket package today! For more information, including benefits, pricing, and package options, call the Stingrays at 744-2248 or view the information online at www.stingrayshockey.com.
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